Raising Awareness

What is it that motivates someone to get involved in their community?
People get involved in working in their local communities for all manner of reasons. What would motivate you may be very different to what motivates others: personal experiences, protecting loved ones and/or others who have faced similar personal situations, or maybe just wanting life in their communities to be that much better.

This factsheet helps explain some of the reasons why people want to get involved, and outlines the benefits for them; their friends, families and communities as a consequence of this activity. It also highlights the particular benefits for young people in getting involved in their community.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but it might provide you with that little bit of inspiration that getting involved in your community is worthwhile, for everyone!

It’s Not Just About Giving
Being actively involved in your community is not only about giving, even if that is your main motivation. For most people it’s an exchange of skills, knowledge and experience that can benefit the giver as much as it does the receiver.
Anyone and everyone can get involved. It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, what you believe in; there are contributions you can make that will make a difference. What you get in return is both priceless and invaluable whatever stage of life you are at:

 Meeting new people – building new friendships, reducing isolation and loneliness (yours and others), developing ideas together.
 Improving your English – learning to communicate better with others in your community, practice your language skills, and improve your own prospects.
 Experiencing different cultures – find out who lives in your community, what their background is, and celebrate the things that make people different.
 Improving relations between different communities in your area – helping people work together by focussing upon a common purpose or goal.
 Influencing change in your local area, making it a better place to live – developing new ideas and approaches together that people can take pride in.
 Building confidence, self-esteem and giving structure to life – young, old, long- term unemployed; there are many people that need to develop a sense of self-worth.
 Keep your skills up-to-date – technology changes constantly, as do methods of working and the established best practice.
 Easing yourself back into work – maybe after bringing up a family, or after major bouts of illness; being able to re-build capacity a step at a time in a “safe environment”.
 Trying out a new area of work – looking for a change of job; testing out and/or developing your skills on activities you would like to do in the future.
 Building up contacts to help you find a paid job – meet local employers involved in community action, improve your CV, and get references.